The differences between the generations’ moms are bigger, and more important, than you might expect

Call her Mom. Or call her Ma. Or even call her Mommie Dearest. She’s the most influential character in most of our lives.

The woman with young kids at home is also the most influential shopper in dozens of categories.

If you make or sell clothes, beauty supplies, food, toys, appliances, shoes, or most anything else, you need mothers’ love to succeed.

Once, not all that long ago, that love was a bit easier to win. All moms were different, but most of them tended to fit into the same general categories. They were all about the same age. They all watched the same TV shows, visited the same stores, and bought the same stuff. If you were a detergent company that advertised soap on the soap operas in the 1950s and 60s, for example, you tended to do well. The Baby Boomer moms also tended to cluster in their preferences. Everyone watched Family Ties and All in the Family. Everyone wore L’eggs and Levi’s.

But things change.

Our culture has fragmented. And now mothers are no more easily stereotyped than anyone else.

Complicating matters is that in today’s America there are two distinct generations of moms with young kids.

The moms who are part of Generation X, roughly ages 35 to 50 this year, altered mom style tremendously when they became adults.

But the members of Generation Y, who are approximately 18 to 34 years old in 2015, are the moms you’re most likely to see pushing a stroller these days. And the data shows that these Millennial moms are exhibiting preferences and behaviors that can be quite different from those of Gen X mothers.

When The NPD Group decided to compare Gen X and Gen Y moms, we mined several of our data sources — some based in surveys, others based in tracking actual purchases — to learn what behaviors defined the two groups. We found the differences between the two generations of moms fall into four distinct areas: what they buy, where they buy it, how they shop, and what types of marketing resonates with them.

More reports can be found at: